Elections, language and mental-health stigma

Outdated and derogatory language

Letter of the Day
Letter of the Day

Sir, – Mental Health Reform is deeply concerned by the divisive and stigmatising mental health-related language used by members of the public, candidates and political commentators to describe candidates and parties participating in the local and European elections. We urge all public figures, candidates, and commentators to consider the impact of their words on the perception of mental health and to strive towards promoting a more inclusive and supportive environment for everyone.

While we can disagree with differences in policies, politics, and campaigns, we should not use outdated and derogatory language when discussing these differences.

Descriptions that include terms like “lunatics”, “loonies”, or “fruitcakes” can reinforce negative stereotypes and contribute to the marginalisation of those with mental health difficulties, making it harder for them to seek the support and treatment they need.

Research, including the 2022 Lancet commission on ending stigma and discrimination in mental health, has shown that harmful stereotypes can have a detrimental impact on the recovery of individuals with mental health difficulties. By using respectful and inclusive language, we can foster a more compassionate society, promote empathy and understanding, and reduce stigma for people experiencing mental-health difficulties. – Is mise,




Mental Health Reform,


Dublin 7.